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Furniture Upcycling: Baby Playpen into a Laundry Sorter

Here is an upcycling project that will help organize and simplify your life: upcycling an obsolete playpen into a lights and brights laundry sorter.

Anyone born before 1980 will probably recognize this wooden playpen from pictures of their toddler years – or the movie Back to the Future. Yeah, no one wants these any more. Well, accept me…and maybe you by the end of this post.

A neighbor of mine was getting rid of this so I took it off her hands before it became landfill fodder. I put it down in my basement and the next time I went down there, I was like, “What’s that awful smell!” Yikes, this thing smelled so musty, to the point of reeking. The good news was, I was planning on hacking it up, which meant it would be in small enough pieces that I could seal it in a large black garbage bag with some kitty litter. The clay litter absorbs moisture and smells wonderfully and can save many old, musty pieces like suitcases, too.

I cut up the playpen into 8 sections so that they could be reassembled as two, four-sided laundry sorters.

You’ll notice that I’m making 2 structures, each with 4 legs, but there are only 4 casters. To remedy this, I positioned two casters as the back legs, then repurposed a crib spindle to use as the front legs of the laundry sorters.

I screwed the spindle in through the bottom support of the laundry sorter

Because there were so many cut edges, and now the miss-matched wood from the crib spindles, I painted the laundry sorters to bring it all together.

Next, I reused a fitted sheet to make the laundry bags. This worked out great because I reused the fabric and elastic, plus the casing for the elastic was already sewn.
Click here to get the sewing pattern for the laundry bags.

The last detail was adding a bottom onto the sorters. I fully intended to cut up the original particle board bottom that came with the playpen, but the sorters left a very tiny ledge for them to rest on the inside and from underneath, I’d have to cut around the added front legs. I decided it would be easiest to simply use the remnants of the fitted bed sheet to tack down a fabric bottom. The fabric was really easy to work with.

Ta-da! The final product…

If you like DIY projects that are easy, inexpensive, reduce waste and add beauty and function to your home, please check out Living Simple, Free and Happy on Amazon. It is also available at bookstores, home improvement stores and craft stores nation-wide.

The book includes 10 upcycling tutorials that take easy to find furniture items and transforms them into customizable, organizational solutions from your home.
What else do you get?

  • Simple techniques that eliminate clutter and keep it from returning
  • A personalized plan to help you reclaim your time
  • Practical (and profitable) ways to sell unused items in your home
  • Tips to eliminate debt and curb consumption
  • Dozens of exercises that help you identify and honor your talents, values, and goals

Please remember to leave a comment on my blog tour page to be entered to win a copy of Living Simple, Free & Happy. There you also see my blog tour schedule and can check in to learn more about upcycling, simple living, decluttering and writing a book.
Please know that I look forward to reading each and every comment!

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

4 Responses to Furniture Upcycling: Baby Playpen into a Laundry Sorter

  1. anne @ wit wisdom and food November 11, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Those are cute and so much better than anything you could find. What a great reuse of something so large. Stopping by from the 16 week DIY Challenge
    anne @ wit wisdom and food recently posted…smile it’s the weekendMy Profile

  2. Megan December 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    Great post! Planning on making my own laundry sorter from some wood I have laying around in the next few weeks, but I’ve been looking for a pattern for the laundry bag inserts without any luck until I found this! But it seems the link isn’t working :( Anyway I could get the pattern somehow?


    • Eve December 13, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Hi Megan, Thanks for letting me know! I just updated the link for the free laundry bag pattern. I’d love to see your laundry sorter when it’s done.

  3. MyBetterHouse December 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    I’m glad I found this helpful blog, I’m always looking for inspiration.

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